As a mother, author, writer, movie producer, marathoner and food allergy advocate, Kelly Rudnicki has no shortage of hats to wear. After one of her five children was diagnosed with severe allergies to dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, peas and legumes, this So-Cal mom made it her mission to provide solutions for other food allergy parents in the kitchen and improve children's nutrition across the country. Kelly is the author of three cookbooks in which she shares her food allergy cooking secrets and the best way to bake vegan. You can keep up with her on her award-winning blog, Food Allergy Mama.
1. Silver lining of having a child with food allergies?
There is a silver lining to every challenge — it is always about learning important lessons through those challenges. My son's food allergy diagnosis 14 years ago exposed all my innermost vulnerabilities and fears. I was worried about doing a good enough job in keeping John safe, and more importantly, alive. I was forced to learn how to cook and had to step up at schools, play dates and parties in order to make sure my son was treated the same as any other child. As a family, we eat together every night at the table, and I believe it has made us all more connected and always looking out for each other. The time is certainly less about the food but more about togetherness.
2. Your go-to favorites for food allergies?
Over the years I have learned to travel and eat out with my son and family with less stress. You must remain vigilant every time, however, and never ever forget your auto-injector. Ever. No exceptions.
Now that we live in Cali, In-N-Out Burger is John's favorite place to eat, and it's my favorite place to order because they are always on high alert every time you flag a food allergy. It blows me away. They handle each order perfectly with a smile on their face every time. It's the little things like that that make our lives so much easier.
I love Disneyland and Disney World as the ultimate vacation experiences for food allergy kids. We go only once in a while, but when we do, there is always something safe for John to eat, there are EpiPens on-site at the park, and I am assured he will have nearly the exact same experience as his siblings.
My go-to for every celebration, bad day or just because I want to show my love through my baking is my allergy-safe chocolate chip cookies. It was the first recipe I created. It is my most requested after all these years and still my favorite one to make (and devour).
3. Mothering style in three words
Passionate, protective, loving